20 May 2022

Photo Credit: Shropshire Star

The Ophthalmology Unit at a county hospital has been officially opened by the Baroness Finlay of Llandaff.

She unveiled a plaque at the opening of the Cataract Suite, which is part of the £2 million unit at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH), on Friday 20 May.

The Cataract Suite, which is part of the unit, has been named after Tony Barker in recognition of his 37 years continuous service as Honorary Treasurer of the League of Friends (LoF) of RSH.

The LoF donated nearly £200,000 towards medical equipment and clinical furnishing of the department, which saw the closure of Euston House in January 2021. The LoF raises money through donations, legacies and fundraising event.

Baroness Finlay, who is President of Attend (a charity that supports and expands roles volunteers play in creating health communities), said at the opening: “I am absolutely delighted to be here. It has really struck me that this is co-production – you have worked with your patients, your community and your staff and out of it hopefully you have instilled the best of all the ideas.

“As for the LoF the amount of money that they have raised is amazing. I gather that overall Shropshire has raised about £15m which is incredible and you are very rural and spread out, but the generosity of people is a mark of their affection for their health service and what they are prepared to give to support it, which is a credit to everybody – the staff at every level.”

Tony Fox, Consultant Surgeon and Lead for the Ophthalmology Transformation Work stream at the Trust, said: “I’m delighted that all of the years of collaborative work to modernise and transform the ophthalmology services at SaTH have culminated in this amazing facility.”

Julia Clarke, Director of Public Participation at SaTH, said: “We are, as ever, very grateful to the League of Friends who have supported the investment in this service and the wonderful unit which supports patients across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid-Wales.

The baroness was later given a tour of the suite, which was designed to enable high volume cataract lists.